Monday, February 26, 2024
"As the sun rises, so should your expectations for yourself each and every day," Paul Kearley says. Photo: Douglas Hedemark
Walk the Talk with Paul Kearley

The Choices We Make

I know the life you could live, and it’s yours for the taking

The song “Amazing Grace” was written by John Newton, the captain of a slave-trading ship (The Greyhound) in the mid-1700s. After converting to Christianity and renouncing the slave trade, he realized the severity of his actions, leading him to pen the song.

The movie “Amazing Grace” is about William Wilberforce and his 20-year battle with Parliament to abolish slavery in Great Britain in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

After finishing the movie and reflecting on it, it occurred to me that it was about more than just the abolition of slaves—slavery that should never have happened and which was a horrible stain on humanity. To me, it was also about our own self-imposed slaveries that we inflict upon ourselves each and every day.

For example, many people:

  • Enslave their bodies by being addicted to chemicals like tobacco, drugs or alcohol.
  • Enslave themselves to accept abuse and neglect.
  • Enslave their minds, allowing past circumstances to control them.
  • Enslave their bodies to sedentary lifestyles, resulting in a lack of fitness and poor health.
  • Enslave themselves to work in jobs they hate under small-minded, negative-thinking people.
  • Enslave their hearts to accept misery as a natural part of living.
  • Enslave their self-images, striving to look as perfect as the tabloids and social media tell them they should.
  • Enslave their thinking by always accepting the words of others and never allowing themselves the privilege to question unfairness.
  • Enslave their confidence by allowing condemnation to attack their conscience.
  • Enslave their future by choosing to live in the past.

I could go on, but you get the point. Most of us do it, and it has become as natural as the sun rising each morning. We seem to just accept the fact that something is the way it is and that we can do nothing about it except accept it as “that’s just the way it is.”

“It is a sad thing for a man

to be well-known to his country

but unknown to himself.”

~Francis Bacon

That’s why the world is the way it is today. There are way too many people shuffling through life, head down, eyes downcast, numb to the world around them, doing what they have always done and hoping for a better day.

It’s a sad thing.

But it’s our own fault.

Who said that we had to live in these conditions? Who imposed those chains upon us? No one except ourselves. Sometimes, we get so comfortable in our bondage that we don’t even know it anymore, and we continue to live on in ignorant bliss, completely unaware that there is more to life than what we are currently experiencing.

“But Paul, you don’t know the life I’ve lived.”

True. But I know the life you could live, and it’s yours for the taking. As the sun rises, so should your expectations for yourself each and every day. You don’t have to live in imaginary chains.

If you find yourself in a place where you have tried to extricate yourself from things that have kept you bound and you keep running into obstacles, just know this: It is choice, not chance, that determines your destiny. If you choose to continue to be enslaved by your current circumstances, rest assured you will. As Joel Osteen writes in his book “Become a Better You,” too many people learn to function in their dysfunction, which means that instead of getting free from their challenges, they simply apply a band-aid to the affected area of their life and continue living in bondage.

It’s like that stain on the wall, if we leave it there long enough we’ll soon stop seeing it.

But, if you choose to step out of your shackles and say goodbye to your jailer, it will be impossible for you to continue to get the same results as you are currently getting, and you will never be the same as you are today.

So, may I ask you this question, “Are you where you want to be in your life?” If no, one of the most important steps that you must take right now is to recognize what is holding you back, identify it, get clarity on it, get it out in the open, and deal with it. Make the decision if it is what you want. As you do, you will begin to see new blessings occur in your life, and you’ll create clarity as to which direction you should go. Things may seem harder for the first while after freeing yourself, but if your vision is clear enough and your determination to stay free is strong enough, you will eventually reach your destination.

This week, may you get out from under the slave trader’s reign to realize your own Amazing Grace.

Make this your best week ever.


Paul Kearley

Paul Kearley is a professional leadership, communications and sales coach for business people who are taking command of their career and making an impact. He has worked as a business coach and trainer, Virtual Trainer, and speaker since 1985.